The Sneaky Reason Chili's Fajitas Are Always Sizzling

Sounds play an important role in society, that much is obvious. We're surrounded by sound, from the typing of your keyboard to the honking of a car horn. But have you ever considered the role sounds play in your appetite? One restaurant certainly has, and they've taken full advantage of it.

Chili's is known for a lot of things, be it Tex-Mex cuisine or that earworm jingle about baby back ribs (via Eater). It's safe to say that Chili's fajitas are one of the most popular things you'd think of when someone mentions the restaurant. And how could you not think of them? Have you ever been inside a Chili's enjoying corn on the cob when a waiter walked by, carrying a red-hot sizzling fajita on a serving tray? The soft sound of crackling and hissing rising above the din of restaurant ambiance like the trumpets of an arriving archangel?

Now, to be sure, Chili's can't go on record to say they invented the fajita (as Dallas Observer decries). But they sure did popularize the concept of a hot, sizzling tortilla stacked with meat and peppers. In fact, the whole concept of a sizzling fajita is something that Chili's recognizes as a very important marketing tool.

The sizzling fajita is meant to tempt you

Recall what we mentioned earlier about sounds influencing our appetite. While you may be a bit confused about what this means, consider it like this: Why does Rice Krispies Treats focus on "snap, crackle, and pop?" Why do KitKat bars focus on the sound of a bar being broken? These sounds are meant to get you attracted to the food in question, to lure you into at least having some curiosity to it. That's exactly what Chili's does with their fajitas.

According to Medium, Chili's, while not the sole inventor of the "sizzling" sound of the fajita, focused less on wild or fancy ingredients and instead of tempting their customers with a variety of sensations. The smell of the steak, onions, and peppers, you hear the loud hissing and sizzling as the waiter draws close, and finally, you see the dish of meat and vegetables piled before you. It's not just about the taste, but making a show of the fajita. They want people to turn their heads and say, "I wonder what's making all that sizzling? Now that I think about it, I want a hot fajita too!"

Like any good presentation, Chili's isn't afraid to use a little bit of "special effects" to make the sizzling magic happen.  Reddit user "slackador" explained that, before the fajita is taken out, a chef squirts "sizzle sauce" over the white-hot fajita to amplify the trademark sound of popping and hissing.